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Photo: Lars Andersson
Stefan Lundström and Susanne Westman Photo: Lars Andersson View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Graduate school with business anchorage

Published: 23 November 2018

Luleå University of Technology's commitment to a practical research school in learning is about to start. After the turn of the year, eight new PhD students will be employed who will conduct their research in close relation to the schools. The hope is that the effort will strengthen teacher training and create closer and more lasting cooperation with school activities in the region.

– With the graduate school we are given the prerequisites to strengthen our teacher training while listening to the needs and wishes of the school business with current and present research, says Stefan Lundström, Associate Professor and Scientific Leader of the Research School together with senior lecturer Susanne Westman.

Clearer cooperation

The doctoral students will make part of their employment in relation to the region, which may mean that they spend longer periods of time at the schools in the two participating municipalities, Boden and Luleå.

– We want to shift the research focus from studies on school to research in, with and for school. The business should not be an external object, but it really becomes research in collaboration that takes into account the wishes and needs of the school business, says Stefan Lundström.

The research school under the acronym PROFS is funded by the university, the region of Norrbotten and Luleå and Bodens municipality. The university has long cooperated with the mentioned players, but with the research school, cooperation is further strengthened.

– We now have a clearer collaboration on research, and it is also part of the work to ensure that the school's activities is based on a scientific ground. Something that is also clarified in the school law, said Susanne Westman.

Dynamic research environment

Work on completing premises and planning the research school's activities has been ongoing throughout the autumn, and besides closer ties to the schools in the region, both scientists see great benefits in that the PhD students are housed under the same roof. Both physically and scientifically.

– The hope is that we together can create a dynamic research environment where the different PhD students can learn and strengthen each other. Researching is often a lonely work, and we believe that group affiliation and a common research network will benefit not only the research, but also the PhD's own journey, said Susanne Westman.

Visualize the school's scientific foundation

An explicit goal with the new graduate school is that it will eventually increase the recruitment of teacher students.

– We do not automatically get more teachers thanks to the research school, but what it contributes is a demonstration that the scientific basis is something the whole business is based on. We also believe that the knowledge of research as a possible career path will generate interest in teacher education, says Stefan Lundström.